With Monday’s procedural vote in the U.S. Senate to allow Montenegro into NATO, the Washington elite proved once more that heightening tensions with Russia might not just be inevitable, but actually desirable. With the exception of Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), the entire 100-strong body of the Senate rallied behind the motion that would see the tiny Adriatic state admitted into the Atlantic alliance over the objections of many Montenegrins . The vote set off a 30-hour countdown, during which Senators will debate before putting the issue to a final vote.
If you needed more proof that US foreign policy is misguided, just look to what happened to Rand Paul after his earlier decision to block Montenegro’s accession. The Kentucky senator was subjected to a barrage of insults from fellow Republican John McCain, who flatly accused Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin.” McCain warned Paul that objecting to the tiny Balkan state becoming the 29th member of the alliance would play straight into the hands of the Russian president. While certainly unkind, Paul’s retort that the 80-year-old might be “past his prime” and perhaps “a little bit unhinged” was not entirely wide of the mark.
While Montenegro’s accession to NATO bafflingly enjoys popular support in the Senate chamber and among NATO’s 28 member states, 25 of whom have already finalized their approval of the country’s membership of the alliance, criticism of Paul’s veto is as grossly misguided as any assertion that he is somehow in the pocket of the Kremlin. Correctly arguing that the U.S. is already spread far too thinly militarily in dozens of countries all over the world with little to show for it, Paul questioned the wisdom of expanding the monetary and military obligations of America at a time when it is already drowning in debt. He had previously voted against the matter in a vote last December.
McCain represents a mercilessly hawkish wing of the Republican Party that would be quite happy to risk war with Russia and harm to U.S. interests over such a strategically irrelevant country. Paul, on the other hand, takes a more pragmatic position on the country’s NATO ambitions, as should anyone in full possession of the facts. To begin with, the Montenegrin people themselves display little interest in their country joining NATO. Polls there consistently show that no more than 40% of the public favor NATO membership, with support for accession dropping considerably below that figure among older people. Many remain suspicious of the alliance after it bombed Yugoslavia, of which Montenegro was part, in 1999. Distrust for the military alliance is so strong that anti-NATO demonstrations regularly take place across the country. To press ahead with Montenegro’s NATO accession would fly directly in the face of the will of its people.
Worse, Montenegro’s October parliamentary election was marred with exaggerated charges that a Russian coup was in the works. If it hadn’t been for some last minute intelligence from Serbia and the country’s own agencies, so the story goes, Russian GRU spies would have assassinated Djukanovic and would have installed a puppet government. In fact, the pro-Western Podgorica government has successfully used the specter of Russian influence in order to detain and unlawfully harass opposition leaders. Just last week, Marko Milacic, a pro-neutrality campaigner, was “pre-emptively detained” after campaigning in favor of a referendum that would have allowed Montenegrins to vote on whether they want indeed to join NATO.
Aside from the lack of public support, Montenegro has very little to meaningfully contribute to the alliance. Indeed, its accession would seriously undermine the democratic principles on which the transatlantic community was ostensibly founded. The country’s government is widely accepted to be riddled with corruption. Former Prime Minister Milo Dukanovic was named Man of the Year in Organized Crime by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in 2015, and has been accused of cigarette smuggling on a grand scale in collusion with notorious organized crime groups from Italy, among a litany of other offences any mobster would be proud to have on their resume. Since standing down from his role as Prime Minister last year, Djukanovic has managed to cleverly maneuver the domestic political sphere by intimidating opposition leaders, while skillfully managing to avoid accusation of a “political crackdown” that would have ignited wide-spread civil unrest.
Montenegro’s accession to full NATO membership should also be viewed as no-brainer from a financial perspective. The fact remains that Podgorica currently spends just 1.6% of its GDP on defense and has a miniscule army. As the Senate Armed Services Chairman, John McCain has been busy campaigning for a greater military budget of $640 billion for 2018 to entangle U.S. forces in further conflicts abroad, proving once more that the former Presidential candidate is stuck in a Cold War mentality, as evidenced by his suggestion that Paul is some sort of Kremlin plant.
Republicans and the White House must look beyond this bluster and carefully consider the ramifications of allowing Montenegro’s NATO accession. Accepting a country with a failing economy and corrupt government into the alliance will do nothing to further U.S interests either at home or abroad. On the contrary, allowing Montenegro to join NATO would jeopardize both regional and U.S. security, and perpetuate the mistakes of past administrations that have been too quick to bomb foreign countries on a whim and play geopolitical games.
McCain’s tired brand of rampant interventionism should be consigned to the dustbin of history, while the rest of the Senate should take careful note of Paul’s important points. He is one of a rare breed of lawmakers brave enough to criticize America’s imperialism abroad.
By David Kowalski
Source: Counter Punch
On July 9, 2006, the U.S. Army charged five US soldiers with the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, and the murder of her parents and 5-year-old sister. This brutal and senseless war crime raises the issue of rape in war. The lynchpin of US propaganda and infowar spin is that Soviet troops raped German women when the Red Army took Berlin in 1945. This was meant to take away from the Russian military achievement in taking Berlin. The Russian soldiers were “rapists” while US soldiers were “liberators”, handing out chocolate bars, chewing gum, ...
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First published by Waking Times, posted by Global Research in May 2014, this article provides a historical viewpoint. It is of particular relevance in relation to the Monsanto-Bayer merger.
Of all the mega-corps running amok, Monsanto has consistently outperformed its rivals, earning the crown as “most evil corporation on Earth!” Not content to simply rest upon its throne of destruction, it remains focused on newer, more scientifically innovative ways to harm the planet and its people.
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The Great Financial Crisis, the Occupy Wall Street rising, Wikileaks and Snowden exposure, imperialist interventions in Iraq-Libya-Syria, the economic-political developments in Greece, and the on-going string of revelations in the US politics take away all ambiguities related to democracy, development and state. With broad and fundamental connections and character the incidents and processes – parts of democracy and development – being witnessed by the contemporary world are significant with far-reaching implications, and helpful to comprehend issues of democracy, development and state.
No ambiguity: Ambiguous and confusing narratives of democracy and development are vigorously sold in markets despite the reality of repeated ...
If anyone doubts that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, he should read the report “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). The report released on the 15th March 2017 and posted on the ESCWA website has now been removed on the orders of the UN Secretary-General, pressured, it is alleged, by the governments of Israel and the United States both of whom have denounced the report in harsh terms.
The withdrawal of the report prompted the ESCWA Executive Secretary and UN ...
Six months into 2016 and the world looks decidedly nervous and edgy from a geo-political viewpoint. A dramatic oil price plunge has pushed producing nations into near crisis as the international scrap for market share follows a bid by a collapsing OPEC cartel to fight off American production. China’s economic woes continue to destabilise markets the world over. The USA is clearly becoming more hostile, even warlike towards Russia, who in turn appears to be gearing up to defend itself from increasingly belligerent and aggressive NATO commanders who are facilitating Europe’s encirclement of Russian borders. The latest weaponry pointed directly at Moscow does not help ...
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“The latest example of this ‘flipping the script’ is a New Republic feature comparing Putin to Milosevic. In reality, it is the West acting towards Russia the same way they acted towards the Serbs two decades ago. I’ve argued before that Putin is aware of this, though the Russian public and media in general may not be.”
Whether the issue is the Caucasus or Ukraine, bombing Russia hasn’t been considered, unlike ...
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Luce acknowledged that the United States could not police the whole world or attempt to impose democratic institutions on all of mankind. Nonetheless, “the world of the 20th Century,” he wrote, “if it is ...
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Western media is becoming unhinged as its anti-Russia propaganda struggles to keep a hold on its consumers. Two recent examples provide evidence.
Pro-peace conspiracy emanating from Moscow
On August 28, the New York Times published an article by its Moscow bureau chief about the troubling news (from the Times‘ viewpoint) that the people of Sweden are not happy with their government’s wish to join up with the NATO military alliance.
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“Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.
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Six Years Later, Kosovo Still Wrong
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Russophobia — or the unnatural fear of Russia — generally leads magazine editors to choose the most over-the-top images to convey Russia as a backwards, clumsy, non-Western and aggressively malevolent power. Unfortunately, that’s led to a few rules of thumb for anyone trying to create a magazine cover featuring Russia. You can think ...
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“No one comes into office with any intention of undoing America’s leadership as the world’s worst jailer.”
Donald Trump is the ill spoken, boorish, graceless ...
Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”
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The report does not provide ...
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The strike was approved by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said that the Syrian Air Force used affiliated al-Shayrat air base to prepare chemical attack on the city of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and ...
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Kosovo: An evil little war
A Boomerang Policy: From Paris to Paris
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Chemical Attack in Idlib – Duplication of Scenario in Eastern Ghouta